Inoa Hits for the Cycle at Talking Stick
Brian Inoa hit for the cycle and Dustin Geiger ripped two RBI doubles, leading a split squad of EXST Cubs to a 6-5 victory over the EXST Diamondbacks in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Whirlwind Field at Salt River Fields at the Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.
Justin Hilt and Wagner Mateo homered for the Diamondbacks.
The game was extended an extra inning to allow all of the pitchers who were due to throw today to get their scheduled work.
I can’t remember the last time I saw somebody hit for the cycle in an Extended Spring Training game, so what Brian Inoa did today is quite rare. The 20-year old switch-hitting Dominican catcher tripled to right-center in the top of the 2nd inning, smacked a solo home run over the right-centerfield fence in the 4th, executed a picture-perfect hit & run single into the vacant "four-hole" in the 6th, and smoked a double off the LF fence in the 8th. On the negative side, Inoa also committed two errors (an overthrow on a stolen base attempt that led directly to an unearned run scoring, and a dropped foul pop-up).
This is Inoa’s first season in the U. S. after making his pro debut last year in the Dominican Summer League with DSL Cubs #2 (AKA the “Bad News Cubs”), where he hit 279/356/369 in 60 games (203 PA), mostly as a DH. In just 26 games behind the plate for DSL Cubs #2 in 2010, Inoa committed a whopping 11 errors and allowed ten passed balls. (He is what I guess you might call an "offensive-first" catcher).
Here is the abridged box score from today’s game (Cubs players only)
1. Vismeldy Bieneme, 2B: 0-4 (3-U, F-7, F-7, 5-3 SH, K)
2. Eduardo Gonzalez, RF: 1-5 (K, 6-3, K, F-7, 2B, R)
3. Marco Hernandez, SS: 1-4 (3-U, 1B, 4-3, BB, P-1, SB)
4. Brandon May, 3B; 2-5 (P-4, K, 1B, 1B, 4-3, RBI)
5. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 1-5 (K, 5-3, 4-6 FC, F-9, 1B, RBI)
6. Brian Inoa, C: 4-5 (3B, HR, 1B, 2B, 4-6 FC, 3 R, RBI)
7. Dustin Geiger, DH: 2-3 (2B, P-4, BB, 2B, R, 2 RBI)
8. Xavier Batista, 1B: 1-4 (1B, 5-3, F-9, 5-3, RBI)
9. Oliver Zapata, CF: 1-3 (P-6, K, BB, 1B, R, SB)
1. Austin Reed: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 1 PO, 42 pitches (29 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
2. Colin Richardson: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 25 pitches (16 strikes), 2/3 GO/FO
3. Charles Thomas: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 17 pitches (12 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO
4. Ramon Garcia: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HR, 17 pitches (13 strikes), 2/3 GO/FO
5. Larry Suarez: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 18 pitches (15 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
1. C Brian Inoa - E2 (overthrow at 3rd base on stolen base allowed the runner to score an earned run)
2. C Brian Inoa - E2 (dropped pop fly in foul territory extending batter’s AB)
Brian Inoa: 0-2 CS, 2 E (see above)
WEATHER: Sunny and breezy with temperatures in the 80’s
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.
If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?
#Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.
Fun with FIP
- J. Hammel 3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
- J. Arrieta 2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
- J. Lester 2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
- K. Hendricks 2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
- J. Lackey 3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k
he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.
JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.
My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.
Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...
joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1
not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.
really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.
Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.
Classic Scully - great stuff.
Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)
Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:
"And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."
When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.
If only he was clutcher. More clutcher.